1. How Is Remote Work Affecting Worker Preferences and the Economy?
Today, 16% of Californians work from home all the time, and 19% sometimes work from home and sometimes work outside the home, according to the November PPIC Statewide Survey. These findings correspond with national estimates suggesting that 30% of all work days are now remote, compared to only 5% pre-pandemic.
The scale of remote work has been remarkably stable over the past year. While COVID is still a factor in decisions to work from home and future shifts are possible, it is clear that a much larger share of the work done in California is and will be done remotely. Notably, among those who say they are working from home today, 65% say they started doing so because of the pandemic.
The overwhelming majority of employed Californians with a preference for remote work believe that work-life balance (92%) and less time commuting (91%) are the strongest reasons to prefer working from home. Two-thirds mention being more productive and half (53%) list being able to live in a different area as a reason. Indeed, if given the choice, many more Californians would prefer remote or hybrid work: 29% of employed Californians say they would like to work from home full time and 32% would like to have a hybrid setup.
Because jobs vary regionally and demographically, so do the groups of Californians who can and cannot work from home. More workers in the San Francisco Bay Area (56%) have jobs that can be done from home than in Orange/San Diego (46%), the Central Valley (38%), Los Angeles (37%), and the Inland Empire (22%). Across racial/ethnic groups, Asian Americans are the most likely—and Latinos are the least likely—to say their job can be done from home. Furthermore, the share of employees who can do their job from home is more than twice as high among those making $80,000 or more (54%) as those making less (25%). The ability for employees to do their work from home also increases sharply with higher educational attainment.
Source: Public Policy Institute of California
2. I ‘missed the watercooler talk’: 3 women on WFH, RTO and trying to find the perfect work-life balance
Married to the office no more
G2 directed employees to work from home at the start of the pandemic, re-opening its headquarters in 2021.
At first, O’Donovan, 27, was surprised by how much she enjoyed working from home. She missed the structure of clocking in and out of the office every day, and seeing her co-workers in-person — but after weeks of working remotely, O’Donovan found that she had more energy and was able to focus better in her home office, where she could be heads down on a project for hours without distraction.
The firm doesn’t have a return-to-office mandate, but O’Donovan, who was recently promoted to chief of staff, decided to resume her commute in August 2021, working from the office 1-2 days per week, as most of her colleagues come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Going to the office fewer times each week has been a welcome change of pace for O’Donovan. She still looks forward to catching up with her boss in-person — and drinking the kombucha on tap at the office — but she sees the benefits of remote work, too, like being able to drive her grandmother to a doctor’s appointment during her lunch break.
3. Surge in remote working due to COVID fuels record employment for the disabled
Widespread acceptance of remote working and an overall labor shortage have opened up historic opportunities for some of the nation’s most skilled and underutilized workers.
“I’m proud to be able to go out and earn a living now, especially teleworking, and do it as a blind man,” said Bobby Pellechia, 39, a data analyst in Central Texas who has had three remote jobs since the pandemic began, each time moving up in position and pay.
Since the pandemic began, employment of people with disabilities is up nearly 25%, to more than 7.3 million workers last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The shift to telework, he noted, has been particularly helpful for people with physical difficulties and mobility limitations. “The ability to get to work via this 10-second commute is to their advantage,” Ameri said.
The Americans With Disabilities Act requires employers to offer a reasonable accommodation to employees with a disability. Since the law’s enactment in 1990, there have been persistent disputes over what “reasonable” means.
After almost three years in which telework has been the norm, lawyers say it may be harder for an employer to justify refusing to let disabled employees work from home.
With a pressing need for workers and new tools like videoconferencing and screen readers readily available, employers who had long resisted telework and other accommodations quickly changed their minds in the face of the pandemic.
“It’s good that we now have this option, but it’s also heartbreaking that it took so long and that it happened overnight. And it was possible all along,” said Charles-Edourad Catherine, director of corporate and government relations at the National Organization on Disability.
Source: Yahoo Finance
4. Upcoming changes in Polish employment law – a new dimension of remote work
In order to prepare a company in time for the changes, employers should have already started drafting the principles of working remotely in accordance with the requirements set out in the proposed legislation. Below is a summary of the new regulations.
What is remote working?
The amendment introduces a definition for remote work, according to which it is work performed entirely or partially at a place indicated by the employee and agreed with the employer on a case-by-case basis, including the employee’s home address, in particular using various means of direct communication at a distance.
What is the first step?
The employer should start the implementation of remote work by carrying out an occupational risk assessment. It is possible to draw up a universal risk assessment for the various different groups of jobs covered by remote working.
How to introduce remote working?
Remote working can be determined by the parties at the stage of concluding the employment contract, as well as during the actual employment period. Distance working can be introduced at both the initiative of the employer or upon the request of the employee, based on the agreement of both parties to the employment relationship.
What should be regulated in the internal regulations?
The internal regulations governing working from a distance should specify, among other things.
the groups of employees who could be covered by remote working;
the rules on how the employer is to cover the increased costs arising from working from home;
the rules dealing with communication between the employee and the employer;
the rules for monitoring the performance of the employee’s duties.
It will be the employer’s responsibility to provide the employee performing the work away from the workplace with the materials and tools necessary in order to perform the work remotely, including the installation, servicing, and maintenance of any technical equipment.
How has occasional remote working been regulated?
Work outside the company can also be performed on an occasional basis, at the employee’s request, to a maximum of 24 days per calendar year.
When will the new regulations come into force?
We anticipate that the new regulations will come into force this coming spring, most likely end of March, beginning of April 2023.
Source: JD Supra
5. Remote Work Is Helping Dads Do More at Home. Let’s Make Sure It Stays That Way
The widespread shift to remote work has made household labor visible like never before, and not only because kids, aging parents, and other dependents regularly popped up in Zoom calls. I’ve heard from many male CEOs who confessed they never understood, until now, how much work their stay-at-home wives performed during the day. It’s easy to ignore a sink full of dishes or a crying toddler when you’re ensconced in an office miles away—not so much when they’re right next to your laptop.
Research has shown that most dads want to spend more time with their kids, but before the pandemic, many were afraid they would suffer career consequences for leaving the office early or working from home.
In a country where Congress stubbornly refuses to pass measures to make parents’ lives easier (ahem, paid family leave and subsidized child care), employers will continue to play an outsized role in crafting policies that keep this crucial demographic in the workforce. A Harvard researcher found that college graduates with babies and toddlers actually became more likely to work for pay than they were before the pandemic, possibly because flexible workplaces have allowed dads to do more child care. And economists have suggested that remote work contributed to a baby boom in 2021, a reversal of a years-long decline in the birth rate.
Source: TIME6. Life is surging back to Center City, despite Philly’s deep challenges
Growth of fully remote work in Center City
While the majority of employees still report to a workplace at least part-time, the number of Center City residents who have fully remote jobs has more than doubled since 2019.
People did leave the city at the beginning of the pandemic, but they quickly got bored, suggested Zak Klinvex, chief investment officer at Post Brothers, which builds and manages apartments throughout Philadelphia. He referenced the live-play-work dynamic that many developers tout in upscale multifamily residential offerings.“If your office job is going away from the office, that job is just moving into your apartment… you can take that wherever you like to play,” Klinvex said.
Source: Billy Penn7. Japan looks to boost protections for freelancers with new law
In light of the increasing number of freelance workers, the government has been conducting surveys and running counseling services in order to shed light on issues that such workers face.
“More data related to freelancers have been accumulated. We know more about the kinds of problems they face, and there are problems that are difficult to deal with through existing laws,” said Mariko Morita, a lawyer at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto. “Thus, I think momentum for introducing a new law has been growing.”
According to Lancers, a Tokyo-based job-matching platform, the estimated freelance population had surged to 15.77 million as of October last year, up from 11.18 million in 2019. The definition of a freelance worker is wide-ranging, and it includes 5 million sole proprietors and 4.24 million people who mainly work for a company but also take on second jobs.
Morita said that the new law is expected to protect freelancers from problems regarding compensation, but it is still unclear whether the government will have enough manpower to firmly enforce the rules.
Hirata said that the new rules will actually protect not only freelancers but also contracting firms.
Without records of clear terms and conditions, deadlines for tasks and the content of them can be ambiguous, which can cause trouble for companies.
As such, issues related to business transactions “will likely decrease quite a lot” once the new law is introduced, Hirata said.
Source: Japan Times